We all have a friend who insists she is 3 sizes smaller than she is, when the most brief and perfunctory of visual assessments would prove her conclusively wrong. I blame lycra. Now it is possible to shoehorn yourself into clothes that are too small and, whilst camel toes, muffin tops and other unpleasant things may result, so will the continuance of her denial. My Mum never tires of telling me how, in the 70s “we all had flat stomachs because we had to hold them in because back then you didn’t have lycra and your clothes would dig into you if you didn’t ” (yes, I hold her responsible for the fact that in year 7 at school we were asked to write an essay on what we considered to be the greatest invention of all time and whilst other people chose sensible things, like the wheel, and penicillin and freezers I chose to wax lyrical about, yep, you guessed it, lycra. Well, I don’t imagine constantly sucking your stomach in can be much fun. Especially not if the facial expressions of a lot of models are anything to go by).
The ‘shocking’ statistic unleashed on us today by the Daily Mail online confirms that 1 in 4 overweight women is in denial over her fuller figure. Probably the least shocking piece of body-related research undertaken since the revelation that airbrushing has a detrimental effect on people’s self-esteem. Although the article did, naturally, prompt a lengthy procession of people with too much time on their hands and the collective IQ of a partially crushed digestive biscuit to launch a tirade of hatred against all the terrible, obese Britons who are sending this country to ruin, causing the global recession, stealing their hamsters etc. (My favourite comment? “Women kid themselves that men find fat girls attractive, sorry ladies, but we don’t want to make love to a bouncy castle!”. My response (internal, I’ve long since given up having futile cyber discussions with Daily Mail readers) “some men DO like making love to bouncy castles, it’s quite a specific fetish, I’ll grant but people are into all sorts of things. However, there is a significant and large community of men who absolutely LOVE having sex with fat women. There are forums and club nights dedicated to it. Oh, and hey, since we’re on the subject of speaking on behalf of our respective genders, may I point out that women do NOT want to make love to pathetic losers who vent their frustration at life by going online to pointlessly fat-bash for no apparent reason?”).
There is, naturally, a fine line between being content in one’s own skin and total self-delusion. I’m all for being happy no matter what your size or shape, as well you know, blog readers. However, inhabiting a dream-like state of inverse body-dysmophia has serious implications for the individual concerned and for her social circle.
Firstly, the individual is not happy with their actual body, merely the one they believe they have. In fact, perpetuating the idea that they are happy with their figure because they are a size 12, when in reality they are a size 16, is just as damaging as being distraught at the notion of being a size 16. Secondly, say this individual I have invented goes about telling people she is a size 12. The idea of what it is to be a size 12 is rendered even more meaningless than it was already (I’m now a size minus 1 in Marks and Spencers) and potentially damaging myths are allowed to fester in the collective mind-set. For, as we know, there is nothing wrong with being a size 16. Come on ladies, let’s come out of the curvy closet.